Monthly Archives: June 2014

Why I’m Sharp as a Tack


As we age, we’re told that stimulation of the mind is a necessity if we want to keep up with the likes of Pat Sajak, which doesn’t seem  to be setting the bar very high, but one can only hope.

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

With that in mind, I’ve developed a few hobbies to keep my brain power in tip top shape, or at least hovering above the where-are-we-going-to-put-mom level.

A few years ago, my personal mother demonstrated this level while visiting my home. While sitting on my deck deciding which plant she would trim into oblivion as soon as my attention was diverted, she reported back to me that she was worried about a particular bird which hadn’t moved for hours. I explained that the bird was painted on the side of a bird feeder and thus far had never moved and proceeded to mock her for the rest of her visit.

Because I am weird enough without the benefit of older age, I’ve decided to take up some hobbies which will keep my brain running on as many cylinders as it takes to at least recognize painted birds from the able-to-fly-away kind.

One of my favorites is throwing out the caps to bottle and jars which are still in use. The idea is to toss the lids to say, olive oil into the trash while cleaning up the kitchen and then, when you get to the putting stuff away portion of the evening, wondering where the hell the lid to the olive oil is.

This exercise necessitates two things: the decision to search through the leavings of a family meal in order to retrieve the cap or to create a substitute from items you have around the house. For extra points, don’t use bad language.

Another brain power enhancing activity requires that you never return anything to where you initially found it. This exercise is particularly helpful if you have a spouse who returns things to their proper place, thus alleviating the participant of the arduous job of finding the keys, purse, glasses, remote control or life saving medicine in order to begin the brain stimulating activity of finding necessary objects. Once again, extra points for not swearing or accusing your family of moving the objects in order to make you feel like you’re losing your mind, (which you are).

The next example requires family members to talk in a normal tone of voice. You are only permitted to ask for a repeat one time, after that you will need to guess what the family member is trying to convey. The bonus is that, often what the family member is saying is hilarious and nonsensical, although these same people are required to pretend that what you heard was not even close to what was actually said. For instance, your husband can turn to you while watching television and say: I saw Bob today, to which you would correctly reply, “This show isn’t even about pandas!” Once again, bonus points are available for not accusing said loved ones of speaking softly.

Try getting a crush on a 36-year-old rock star. Although these activities are more geared to keeping the mind youthful and not revisiting immaturity, done right, this activity can stimulate the brain, etc. Here’s what you do; attempt having a sexual fantasy about say, Chris Martin. Now try to imagine an outcome in the real world that wouldn’t include the words, “I’m very flattered…really…but…” This takes some serious brain power.

Nearly everyone I know over 40 plays this next brain buzzing game, but if you don’t remember when MTV had videos 24/7, here’s how it’s played. You wake up injured and your job is to guess exactly what happened while you were asleep which would result in a sprained head. Or, you reach for your babushka, (Old lady for scarf,) and you suffer an attack on your shoulder which can only be described as !@#$! !@#$%^&! Your job is to come up with a more fascinating, yet still believable story which precludes old age as a factor in your injury. For instance, despite her claim of “conscious uncoupling” Gwyneth didn’t take well to my greeting her husband by winking and saying, “Hey Good Lookin’! What’s Cookin?” So she twisted my arm.

There are those who prefer crossword puzzles or trivia, but these activities necessitate items which, as a person of years, will always be missing when the mood to poke at the recesses of your brain arises. Yet, at any given moment you can strain a muscle while fantasizing about Chris Martin as you throw important items in the trash, in the midst of finding you…your…what was I looking for?


Why May and I are BFFs

Why May and I are BFFs

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of winter as an old man. First of all, old men seem to focus on their lawns and that’s seems

Springless than possible when any semblance of green grass is destroyed in November and only begins to moan about being in a coma in March.

Winter, to me, is an old woman who will not turn the thermostat up, despite the blue hue of her fellow dwellers, which is a good name for a folk band.

She gives the cold shoulder to those of us who like to know our fingers and toes are stil attached without visual assurance. “When I was a girl,” she’ll screech, “There was constant snow! We didn’t have any mamby pamby sleds, either! If I wanted to slide, I’d let my ass freeze over in the outhouse and trip on my way back to the unheated hut that I called home. You didn’t hear me complain! I loved it! Why, when April came around, I’d chase her away with a shovel!” (April being the delicate flower of a girl who had the nerve to want to wear her Easter Sunday dress without a woolen overcoat.)

I spend most of my time in the winter, cursing this evil doer, but usually the cold sucks the breath from my mouth, freezing the words, and letting them drop into the snow, never to be heard again until I slam my finger in a window come screen cleaning time.

Spring in Chicago, on the other hand, is very hard to differentiate from winter. Same snow, same cold, same growling, teeth chattering from me, but the blue in my fingers begins to turn toward mauve and when I see April skip around the corner for the first time, I secretly hate her, because, let’s face it, she’s a bit of a tease.

40 degrees is all we ask and she gives it to us, before smacking us in the face with plastic flowers and running inside to bake cookies with Winter for another several weeks.

By the way, cookies are part of the distinct misery that is winter, although they are not thrust upon me, I feel compelled to overindulge. There is a scientific reason for this, but I don’t care because my pants don’t fit. However, for those of you who like the intricacies of science, here it is: Before Marshalls and TJ Maxx, humans needed protection from the cold and fig leaves weren’t cutting it. So, because they weren’t thinking of how this would affect me, they ate enough to fill a black hole, if a black hole get’s hungry and let’s hope they don’t.

Back then there was little need to get in shape for bikini weather because razors and waxing weren’t invented yet and also because laying on the beach with your friends constituted a buffet for those higher up on the food chain. Also there were no fashion magazines, so women didn’t know that they should be ready, at ever given time, to model for osteology classes.

So, they ate. A lot. And I kind of envy them, because there was no downside. No one sobbed over last year’s wardrobe because only a tube top and you husband’s gym shorts still fit. No one worried about muffin tops, double chins and thunder thighs as that meant less time poking a fire in the cave.

I suppose the fact that they ran from whatever meat-eater found them attractive, thus getting their cardio in every day, kept them in shape, but unless a bear chases me up the block on a daily basis or I chased something desirable, like cheesecake or Chris Martin (for those who have written demanding more Chris Martin blogs, this will have to do for now and you’re welcome,) there will be no running for me. It’s been written into law by my knees.

Anyway, with no thought for the future, Evolution and Calvin Klein did away with the need to eat cupcake and cookies and donuts to keep warm, so why, once September turns a cold shoulder to me, do I feel the need to bulk up from Halloween through Easter and why do these holidays focus on candy? And why aren’t philosophy majors working on this? After all, it’s not like they have jobs.

Despite my less than ideal appearance once Sprinter (Some Spring but mostly Winter) rolls around, May is my favorite month, like a friend who lives far away and I only get to see once a year. You don’t have to dress up for her, she brings fruit, she smells nice, she likes to sit on the porch and watch it rain and she never mentions the fact that you’re wearing a tube top and men’s gym shorts.

Even when May slips up and snows, (yes, it freakin’ snowed in May this year) you have to forgive her because you know you’ll miss her when she’s gone.

Some people don’t appreciate May like I do, however, hence the following conversation I overheard in TJ Maxx recently:

“Wasn’t last weekend hot?”

“Yes, it was. I told my daughter, that’s enough summer for me!”

“I know and it’s going to get cold again this weekend.”


These women should be deposited in a the bleakest of Canadian back yards where, every year, fossils are discovered one the snow melts in August. (These fossils are called friends and family).

May has come and gone now and I miss her already, although I also enjoy her slightly hotter sister June. I try not to be a glass half frozen girl, but I start dreading December in July to beat the rush, so I’m going to make June count. After all, as the the song from Carousel goes, June is Bustin’ Out All Over, so she has no room to talk.